In Germany, around 1.5 million people with Alzheimer’s dementia. That there is still no effective treatment, is partly due to the fact that the treatment can progress is not readily measure and in clinical studies. In addition, it is not clear when treatment should start. The existing therapy concepts fail due to the fact that Alzheimer’s disease has already dug to deep into the brain, if the disease is apparently.

Extremely helpful would be a Test that detects the approaching of dementia at an early stage, traces and projections, it allows the brain of the disease will continue to develop the blood test. Mathias Jucker, German centre for Neurodegenerative diseases and the Hertie Institute for clinical brain research, and his colleagues from the two institutions, the University hospital of Tübingen and Washington University School of Medicine, the development of such a test is now possible.

The method the dementia announces, obviously, already up to 16 years before the predicted onset of the symptoms about the rise of a piece of Cell debris in the blood. Relevant, not the absolute concentration of the Fragment, but the degree of change. The scientists report in the latest issue of the journal “Nature Medicine”. In the case of the piece of cell scrap is the residue of a neuro-filament with the cryptic name is the NfL. It is part of the internal skeleton of the nerve cells and is a Biomarker for nerve cell damage, not for Alzheimer’s dementia per se.

Specific to the dementia, the sudden change in the NfL-concentration is but apparently. To find this clue was only with the help of the “DIAN”families. DIAN stands for “Dominantly Inherited Alzheimer Network”. In this network gathered for families suffering from a rare genetic Form of Alzheimer’s dementia, based on the different mutations, and very early starts. Jucker coached together with many colleagues around the world families with this fate.

The DIAN network of people with Alzheimer’s disease-Mutation and family members without the Mutation. From Germany sixty people are involved. Because the Alzheimer’s-mutations necessarily lead to dementia, and the approximate symptom of age can be calculated based on the family history and the nature of the Mutation, were able to Jucker and his colleagues estimate, when the first memory disorders in the Affected are. This gave them the time axis. That sudden changes in the NfL-concentration can, however, sixteen years before the first symptoms show is a Surprise. Changes in brain mass can, in fact, only five to ten years before symptom onset demonstrate. So there must be areas in the brain that flush very early in the cell scrap into the blood.

Jucker and his colleagues have also studied the predictive value of blood tests and were able to show that the degree of change in the NfL in concentration allowed a good prediction about how the brain will change. The scientists were even able to say the loss of brain mass and cognitive impairments with the help of the test of the value of the predictions which were then entered two years later.